By ED & BETTY BIITTIG
On Wednesday, July 15 we went to Fonda Speedway for the running of the 15th Annual Hondo Classic for Pro Stocks. It’s hard to believe 15 years have passed since we lost Hondo Carpenter, who was a crowd favorite at the track. Hondo was not the most winning driver at the speedway but he was one of the most popular. Adding to his popularity was, when he was on the track, long time announcer, Jim King had a very special way of saying HONDOOOOOOO that would ring through the Mohawk Valley as the fans cheered.
Kelley and Kaitlyn Keefe put in such an effort in the planning of this event each year. They normally begin on the day following the annual running of the event. The support of 36 Pro Stock from multiple area tracks shows how much they care for this event and what they thought of Hondo.
After the running of the 15th Hondo Classic we now know that 1/3 of the 15 events have been won by Nick Stone. Nick started in the eight position and before Wednesday’s event Nick said there were many good drivers in the field, but that didn’t seem to stop him.
Nick celebrated the win on Checkerboard Square with Hondo’s car owner, Bob James (BOBCO) who has been going through some serious treatment for cancer but was able to make his way to Fonda with the help of friends. Immediately following the interview with the winner, Promoter, Brett Deyo stepped forward to commend Bob for his 30 years of dedicated videography at the track. Brett continued by announcing that as long as he is at the helm at Fonda Speedway, the video perch above the announcer’s tower, that was Bob’s home for so long on race night, will be called the “BOBCO Tower”.
Ed was given the opportunity to say a few words about Bob James and his dedication to Fonda Speedway and to area racing as a videographer, car owner and all around supporter of local racing. Ed thanked everyone for their prayers and asked for continued support from the racing community. We thank Brett and Heather Deyo for honoring a long time friend of racing, BOBCO.
It’s a given in racing that whenever a driver is on a winning streak, you hear a litany of talk about how he does it. Of course the first words from the non-fan is, he’s cheating, the track is playing favorites, and so on and so on. We’ve spoke to many about Stewart Friesen’s driving ability and their responses are all over the chart. On Wednesday he showed all watching just how talented he is. On lap eight, he went to the pits with a flat tire, came back at the rear of the field and by lap 22 took the lead. From what we saw nothing was given to him, he had to pass everybody.
A little over a year ago veteran Fonda driver, Dave Lape shared with us that Stewart is probably the best he had ever see at Fonda. We stopped at the Friesen pits after the feature on Wednesday and spoke with crew member and tire guru, Jay Castimore, and he said, “It’s preparation in the shop.” Jay continued by saying that he, Tommy Conroy and Stewart go over everything before each race. This seems to explain many of the victory celebrations.
It looks as though many seasons are winding down for tracks in New York mostly because of restriction not allowing fans in the stands. Albany Saratoga, Lebanon Valley, Glen Ridge and Fonda all have been trying to make it work with the help of DTD.TV live video subscriptions for fans to get their racing fix. Fonda announced today they will have three events beginning Saturday, August 1, then moving to Wednesday, August 5 and Championship night on Saturday, August 15. So far nothing has been posted about the other tracks in our area but by the time you read this it could happen so check the websites and social media pages for up to date information. Events are available on DTD.TV from Fonda, Albany Saratoga and Lebanon Valley.
In the meantime, let’s look at the numbers as they are right now. At Fonda Rocky Warner leads the Mod points by ten points over Michael Maresca with Matt DeLorenzo third, Stewart Friesen, fourth and Josh Hohenforst in fifth place; just 26 points separated first from fifth. Atop the 602 Sportsman is Chad Edwards, Pro Stocks, Nick Stone; Limited Sportsman, Dylan Eldred; Street Stocks, Dave Horning, Sr., and Four Cylinder Single Cam, Ken Hollenbeck and Dual Cam, John Napoli.
At Albany Saratoga Stewart Friesen is leading the DIRTcar Mod points; Connor Cleveland, DIRTcar Sportsman; Bryce Breault, Limited Sportsman; Luke Horning, DIRTcar Pro Stocks; Al Relyea, Street Stocks; Steve Ryan, Four Cylinder Single Cam and David Frame, Dual Cam.
At Lebanon Valley Kenny Tremont, Jr., is on top of the DIRTcar Mod points, Andy Bachetti, Small Block Mods; John Virgilio, Sportsman; Chad Jeseo, DIRTcar Pro Stock; John Devine, Pure Stock; Gary Malloy, Sr., Four Cylinder Single Cam and Brandon Ely, Dual Cam.
Glen Ridge has a double points show this Sunday. Currently 602 Crate Sportsman point leader is Travis Green; Limited Sportsman, Garrett Poland; Street Stock, Damon Anderson; Pro Stock, Luke Horning; Mini Stocks (4 Cyl) Single Cam, Ray Young and Dual Cam is Josh Kane. All Star Slingshots Mike Hill and Danny Ballard are tie for the top spot in the Senior division and Lucas Duncan is on top of the Juniors.
Ed usually talked with his brother Rich about every day and they would always talk racing and world issues. Rich had strong political convictions, some that probably would have gotten him in some heated arguments during this highly intense political times. But they always had racing to fall back on and Rich certainly enjoyed racing as much as anyone could. As you all know, we lost Rich in March so things have changed a lot for us too. RIP Rich.
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